I have never been a sickly child. I get the rare cold or cough, but they never last very long. However, I do have a history of falling violently ill – an 8-day stay in the hospital, anyone? I am mostly healthy, really awesome and calm. However, when my body wants to rebel, it does in a major way. Like me. ^^
I did an 8-day stay in the hospital in 2009 after a major operation, but I bounced back within 3 months to go for my student exchange in Indonesia. My parents were worried sick, but I came back safely without any major mishaps. I even went to South Germany in the same year to spend Christmas there.
I will not let my body hold me back from travelling.
I spent an uneventful 9 hours on the Lufthansa plane flying from Chennai to Frankfurt. I was sitting next to the window, and there were 2 Indian men next to me. I remember I did not have any leg room after stuffing my bag under the seat in front of me. I was quite uncomfortable, but hey, flying economy is never pleasant. It is just a method to get to my destination.
I then had to transfer to my flight heading to Madrid in Frankfurt.
I got off the plane at Frankfurt and thanked all the air stewardesses on my way out. They were very friendly and awesome.
I stepped off the plane, and felt the cold immediately. I squatted down to shiver a little. It was probably the cold, I told myself. I hurried to find the nearest rest room to put on more clothes and to use the toilet…
… And found myself lying face-down in the middle of the empty gate. I did not know how I ended up on the floor. Some time might have passed before I regained consciousness. I felt a small bump forming above my right eyebrow. Around me were 4 or 5 very concerned airport staff.
I struggled to get up but someone told me not to move. My next move would be to wave my air ticket to Madrid at the airport staff. One of them took the ticket and examined it. She asked for my passport and summoned the airport clinic staff.
I was not fated to go to Madrid.
The next couple of hours was one of the most traumatic ones I ever had in my life.
I lay on one of the beds in the airport clinic, and I remember not being able to breathe. My chest hurt. I was panicking.
The doctor in the airport clinic said that I was not fit for flight. In fact, the pilot would chase me off his plane if I fought my way to the gate.
He decided that what I had was beyond his skills/equipment. He sent me to the nearest hospital in an ambulance.
He accompanied me in the ambulance to the hospital. He belonged to one of the types of German men that I adore – chubby and he had a reliable feel about him. He kept pressing an oxygen mask to my face and commanded me to breathe in deeply.
After getting my medical report (in GERMAN) 8 days later, I understood why he did it – my oxygen level was at 66% when I got to the hospital. A normal person has an oxygen level of 100%.
I reached the emergency department of the hospital and I was hooked up to several machines by the nurses there. Five doctors followed a senior doctor into my emergency room. The senior doctor proceeded to pull up my top to perform an ultrasound scan of my lungs. (Very efficiently, no nonsense-ly) He was speaking in German. I understood nothing, but I had the word “Madrid” in my head.
One of the five doctors detached himself from the group to put feeding tubes into both my arms. He was to be my main doctor for the next 8 days. He speaks English fluently and had thick skin. My cries of “MADRID!!” did nothing to move him. BUT, he was handsome as hell – he was probably of Persian origins.
The next day, he explained that I had pulmonary embolism. (This was after I asked him if I could travel to Madrid after spending two days in the hospital.) He also said that 30% to 40% of people who get pulmonary embolism die on the spot, and this was like the beginning of my second life.
The religious theme is running through this trip for some reason.
For 5 days, trainee doctors and nurses came in to take blood for tests. I am so used to people taking blood from me. I am actually indifferent to needles.
During my stay, I learned a lot from my room mates through their actions and broken English. There was a 89-year-old woman who had no family. She was so self-sufficient, and she reminded me of myself. Would I be like her when I am older?
I was sorry that I could not speak German because she was telling my other room mate and her daughter how Frankfurt was like before the World Wars.
One of my nurses spoke English fluently, and I was grateful for her presence. I would have no conversation without her. I would tease the nurses by holding my hands up in a fight stance (while on the bed) when they came in to give my blood thinner injections, or make faces at the way my medicine tastes. One of them (from Bosnia) said, “Don’t fight me. I have a needle.” XD
I also encouraged the younger nurses to practice their English on me. I learnt a bit of German – enough to ask for water and understand (a little) of what was happening around me.
My cousin A flew from London to visit me ♥, and got into trouble at work because of that.
I spent a lot of time reading the books I had in my bag, playing games / watching Weeds Season 7 and 8 on my tablet and sleeping.
I was discharged on the 8th day and I was allowed to walk around the city centre on my own. I was surprised how much my stamina decreased during the time I was in the hospital; I was tired after walking around slowly for only 4 or 5 hours (with rest in between).
The hospital was 10 minutes away from the city centre of Frankfurt.
The best part of this was…
I found Primark in Frankfurt. I am known to buy up to ₤100 worth of stuff when I am let loose in Primark. A the cousin looked at me with surprise when we were last together in the branch of Primark located in Camden Town.
This time, I only spent €16.80 on foot socks, underwear and hair conditioner. Most of the stuff in my sizes were gone when I got there. I guess the Primark in UK has more stock in my size.
Due to this incident, I am grounded from dance class and travelling for a month. 😦 I will probably rest more so I can travel to Los Angeles (and survive the trip) with A the cousin in June.
Another lesson I learned after this trip: never travel without travel insurance. My medical bills, travelling expenses and air tickets were paid for by my travel insurance company. My stay in the hospital would have cost me tens of thousands if I did not have insurance. You do not know when your body will act up.